When the nominees for the 83rd annual Academy Awards were announced on Tuesday morning (January 25), “The King’s Speech” came out on top with a field-leading 12 nominations. The critically acclaimed story of Queen Elizabeth II’s stuttering father was trailed by the remake of the western “True Grit,” which locked up 10 nods, followed by “The Social Network” and “Inception,” which each racked up eight nominations.
In one of the most lauded performances of the year, Natalie Portman lead the roster of Best Actress nominees for her role as a conflicted ballerina in “Black Swan,” in a category in which she’ll face off against Annette Benning (“The Kids are All Right”), Nicole Kidman (“Rabbit Hole”), Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”) and Michelle Williams (“Blue Valentine”). In all, the thriller “Swan” received five nominations.
The Best Actor race will pit another early favorite, Colin Firth of “The King’s Speech,” against Javier Bardem (“Biutiful”), last year’s winner, Jeff Bridges (“True Grit”), Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network”), and one of the show’s co-hosts, James Franco (“127 Hours”).
Going into Tuesday’s nominations, the Facebook story “The Social Network” appeared to have an edge thanks to a Best Drama win at the recent Golden Globes and a number of top awards from critics groups. But considering the love the Academy has for triumph-over-adversity stories such as the one told in “The King’s Speech,” it’s possible the story of stammering royalty could prevail, especially since it pulled off a major upset over the weekend by winning the top prize at the Producers Guild of America Awards, whose winner often goes on to snag the Best Picture prize at the Oscars.
Best Supporting Actress nominees include Amy Adams (“The Fighter”), Helena Bonham Carter (“The King’s Speech”), Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”), newcomer Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”) and Jacki Weaver (“The Animal Kingdom”). Though a win is unlikely, the nomination for 14-year-old Steinfeld in her first movie role could mean big things in the future for the previously unknown eighth grader, who won the role over 15,000 girls who auditioned.
In the Supporting Actor category, it will be a battle between Christian Bale (“The Fighter”), John Hawkes (“Winter’s Bone”), Jeremy Renner (“The Town”), Mark Ruffalo (“The Kids are All Right”) and previous winner Geoffrey Rush (“The King’s Speech”). Bale’s nomination is one of seven for the boxing drama, which did not earn an acting nomination for lead Mark Wahlberg, who had to settle for a nod as one of the film’s producers.
For the second year there are 10 movies contending for the Best Picture prize, a roster that is doubled from the previous selection of five films. Best Pictures nominees include: “Black Swan,” “The Fighter,” “Inception,” “The Kids Are All Right,” “The King’s Speech,” “127 Hours,” “The Social Network,” “Toy Story 3,” “True Grit” and “Winter’s Bone.”
For Best Director it will be Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”) up against David O’ Russell (“The Fighter”), Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”), David Fincher (“The Social Network”), and Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (“True Grit”).
Box-office smash and mind-bending adventure “Inception” didn’t earn any acting awards, but it did pick up a raft of nominations in technical categories, including Art Direction, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects and Original Screenplay. Another box-office giant, Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” was shut out of the acting race but racked up several technical nods, including Art Direction, Costume Design and Visual Effects.
Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor and partner Atticus Ross were nominated for Original Score for their haunting music for “The Social Network,” and “Tron: Legacy” picked up one nod for Achievement in Sound Editing.
[By Gil Kaufman]